t wasn't like she'd made a point of avoiding Asil after she'd shown up at his door and kissed him on Christmas Day. It was the end of the year and things were just a little hectic, especially with the worry she, Sage, and Anna felt for their pack member Aria. While Kara was living with her they weren't as worried because Aria would at least try to interact with the girl even if she was just going through the motions. But Kara's parents arrived the day after Christmas and Aria was suddenly all alone. And that worried them.
After Thea's kiss Asil found himself equally pleased his Little Omega was so bold and frustrated with himself for not being able to let go of his desire to court her in the old ways. She was of a different time, a time when men and women were more bold in their actions and interactions. He knew what she wanted from him. Truth be told, he wanted it too, Allah help him. So why didn't he just take that final step?
"You are, by far, one of the most stubborn men in the world."
Asil growled at the voice that intruded on him while he worked in the hothouse.
Anna rolled her eyes. "If Bran growling at me doesn't scare me what makes you think your growl will?" she asked. "Thea is head over heels about you, you know that, right?" she asked and knowing she wouldn't get an answer she continued. "And anyone with half a brain, or a nose that can smell arousal, knows the feeling is mutual," she added and again rolled her eyes at his growl. "So the only answer to the question of 'Why hasn't he done anything about it?' is stubbornness."
Asil was slowly moving all of his flowers to containers that he would be able to slide into heated crates to transport them when he did take that final step. He stopped what he was doing and turned to Anna. What to say to her inquiry? Truth. "I am unsure how to go about that very thing."
Anna gave him a puzzled look. "What do you mean Asil?"
"Let's go into the house," he said and waited until they were in the kitchen with cups of tea before he answered her. The wait had given him time to figure out how to explain his dilemma. "I come from a time when a man courted his intended. Oft times there was a betrothal of sorts to make courtship easier. I was mated to Sarai for a very long time and I have been alone for two centuries. Thea is but a babe in comparison to the number of years I have been alive but that, in itself, is not the problem. The problem, Anna, is I do not know how to court someone in this age. I cannot be crass about it, it is not in me to do so."
"I think I understand," Anna replied. "You don't have any experience in dating, not as it's done in this day and age anyway, so figuring out how to go from 'I'm attracted' to 'Mine' keeps eluding you. You could just do what Charles did with me; be blunt about it. When we met, I was so scared of everything, well you saw how I was, but he terrified me on one level because of his dominance. I'd been taught that the more dominant the wolf the more pain it was going to cause me. He just told me his wolf was interested in courting me more than it was in dominating me. Are you afraid you'll lose control if you act on your attraction?" she asked knowingly.
"As usual, you have gotten right to the heart of the matter," Asil replied. "Every time I touch her I want to devour her," he confessed. "I fear it might scare her if I let myself do what I want."
Anna studied him. "Give Thea more credit than that, Asil. I know her ex-husband hit her but she's a lot stronger than you're giving her credit for and that's disrespectful. Look, it's New Year's Eve, we'll be going for a run tomorrow to celebrate the new year. Come with us, and take a chance. She might surprise you," Anna said and left to give him time to think about what she'd said.
Asil started to snarl at Anna when she said he was disrespecting Thea but he stopped himself. She was right, he was being disrespectful. He was treating Thea like she was fragile because she was so different from his old mate, who'd been hardened by life. But different didn't mean weak or fragile. He thought about the run. For fifteen years he'd been told about it and for fifteen years he'd stayed home. But not this year. This year he would run with Thea and later he would ask her to be his mate.
Asil opened his eyes to a familiar room. It was the home he'd shared with Sarai in Spain. He'd not dreamt of it since Mariposa's death and he knew it was a dream and yet he frowned. Why now? The witch was gone. He felt a thump on the back of his head and spun around. "Sarai?"
"It's certainly taken you long enough, Hussan," Sarai said and gave him a gentle smile. "I don't recall it taking you quite this long when you chose me. She is good for you, she will keep you young," she added.
"Are you saying you give me permission to take another mate?" he asked. Was that the reason he'd held back, the real reason? Fear of being disloyal to the memory, to the love, of his Sarai?
"Yes, if that is what you need to finally let me go and find happiness again, I give you permission, and my blessing, Hussan. Choosing another, after so long, does not erase what we were. There will always be that place in your heart that belongs to only me, but you do not dishonor me by longing for another. You and your wolf need to let me go and be happy, be whole, once more." She touched his cheek. "Be happy with her, Hussan," she added and slowly faded away.
Asil bolted awake. There were tears on his cheeks. "Thank you, Sarai," he whispered. There would always be a place in his heart that held her close but he realized that part of why he'd held back was because he felt disloyal to Sarai. Having her blessing made that feeling disappear and he was eager for the afternoon run to arrive.
Thea had no idea of the decision Asil had come to. Nor did she know that Ethan had decided to give it one more try. She'd gone with Sage and Anna to try to convince Aria to go on the run with them and she'd been equally concerned about Aria's physical state. She was still thinking about her friend when she stripped, along with Anna and Sage, to go for the celebratory run. She spotted her brother, who'd already changed, headed towards them, or more specifically towards Sage. Who she didn't see was Asil and she felt a pang of... sorrow before she had to focus on getting through the pain of shifting.
Asil opted to shift at home because it gave him time to center himself before seeing Thea. He would make his intentions as obvious as possible during the run. That was the plan anyway. But, as the saying went, the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry. It was no different for werewolves.
By the time Thea was finished shifting and was able to shake the last tingle of pain from her body Asil had joined them. She felt immense happiness at seeing him there. Their little group was missing two wolves, Charles and Juliana, but they arrived soon after Asil did.
Anna nuzzled her daughter. She'd known the 'thing' her mate had to take care of before the run was directly related to the Native heritage he and Juliana shared, despite being from different tribes. They'd welcomed the new year with a dance and an offering to the spirits and the Creator before shifting to join the pack for the run. After the incident in Troy they were trying very hard to make sure their daughter learned all she could about her heritage so she stopped feeling like she didn't belong anywhere. They would talk with the New Orleans Alpha at a later date about the creole part of her heritage.
The run started out peacefully. The day was clear, the snow sparkled in the sunlight, and there was a sense of joy around them. When Asil moved closer to her Thea was caught off guard by his scent. She could smell his interest in her, his intent. She'd never really smelled that before and she wasn't entirely sure what it meant.
Ethan trailed Thea's scent as he closed the gap between him and the small group he knew she was running with. He wanted her for himself. He knew Asil did as well but he believed he and Thea would have more in common because they were both newer werewolves. He saw Asil hovering near Thea and growled. He headed straight for them with fighting Asil for her the only thing on his mind.
Asil had shifted to nuzzle Thea when he heard the distant growl. He lifted his head and saw Ethan charging at them. He moved and put Thea behind him before he snarled. If the pup was so eager to die, he would be more than happy to oblige him.
Everything seemed to happen in slow motion. Thea saw Ethan headed for them and tried to move to put herself between him and Asil but it felt like she was moving through quicksand. Asil's snarl made her freeze and she knew someone was going to die. Without even thinking about it she closed her eyes and found the place of calm she'd created in her mind to help with her gifts and then she hit them both with it. Seconds before they collided in what would have been a bloody fight to the death Asil and Ethan both dropped to the ground. Thea hit them both with such focus that it nearly knocked them unconscious.
Bran had heard the snarl and came running but it turned out he didn't need to worry. He stayed back from the sphere of Thea's influence and looked to his son. 'Calm her before she affects us all with it'.
Charles shifted back to human form and kept his voice calm so he could talk her down. "Thea, it's okay, you stopped them from trying to kill each other, but you need to get control now. I'll need to check them over and we'll have to get them back to Da's until they recover," he added. He knew Asil's reactions were going to be questionable, at best, once the effects wore off.
It wasn't easy but Thea managed to get control of herself and soon the others were able to get closer to Asil and Ethan. She watched as Charles checked them both over to be sure no one was injured and whined when he got to Asil. While Charles did that Bran left to change back to human and return with the Humvee for them.
"He's fine, but he might be a bit... unbalanced later on," Charles told her. "You should go home, he'll come to you when he's ready," he added.
Thea felt chastised for her actions and after a soft whine she bolted for home. Moments later Cyrus and Sage joined her and the trio ran over the snow, the joy of the day shattered, and as soon as Thea shifted back to human she closed herself up in her bedroom.
Cyrus paced outside his sister's bedroom for several minutes. "Adelfi, it's going to be okay. I doubt he meant for you to feel chastised for intervening like that," he said. He knew she heard him but she made no response. Eventually he gave up and went downstairs where Sage waited. "I don't know what else to say to her," he said in frustration.
Sage went to him and wrapped her arms around him. "The only one who will be able to get her to stop beating herself up over it is Asil and it'll be a few hours, at least, before he'll be up to that," she replied.
"What was that all about, anyway, and what did Thea do?" Cyrus asked.
"Ethan and Asil are both interested in her. Because Asil hasn't officially claimed her as his, any unmated male in the pack can pursue her. Ethan is the only one dumb enough to risk Asil's rage. Sometimes the wolves will take over, and just like among real wolves, they fight it out with the victor getting to be the one to take the female for their mate. As for what Thea did, that is what an Omega is. She used a center of calm to stop their wolves, in their tracks, and essentially put them to sleep. She'd focused it just on them or we would have all felt the effects of it."
Cyrus looked at Sage. "So, am I going to have to fight them off for you?" he asked.
Sage actually blushed a little. "No, they all know I'm not interested in them. Honestly, I don't think it's Thea, herself, that Ethan wants. It's more that he's drawn to her as an Omega, but Asil, yeah, he's had it bad for her from the start. He even growled at Bran, when your father was here and was pressuring Thea for answers she couldn't give him. He was worried Bran might do something drastic that would cause Thea to leave us and he wasn't willing to let that happen. He even said that if she left he would leave with her." She rested her cheek against his shoulder a moment. "We should give Thea some time to herself," she said softly. "We could go to my house," she added.
Cyrus had finally found a tract of land that called to him and he was in the process of designing his home, but he was hoping that by the time he started building it, it wouldn't be just his. He gave her a cocky grin. "I like that plan," he said. "I'll go let Thea know," he added.
"I heard," Thea said from the stairs. She'd realized she was being silly hiding in her room like a child. "Go, I'm fine. Have fun," she told him and once they were gone she fixed some cocoa and curled up on the sofa to wait for the visit she knew was coming.
Asil was the first to recover. Once the effects wore off he growled and shifted back to human, ignoring the presence of his Alpha until he'd finished and was dressed.
"It seems she didn't affect your temperament any," Bran said with faint amusement.
Asil gave him a dark look before he looked away. Part of him was angry over being thwarted but the larger part of him was immensely proud of his Little Omega. She'd come far under his tutelage.
"It's a good thing for you and that pup she intervened when she did. You would have killed him and then I would have had to step in."
Asil knew what he meant. Thea was unmated and as such any unmated male in the pack was free to court her. He'd known Ethan was interested in her but he hadn't realized it was enough to make the younger wolf want to fight for her.
"You need to make a decision before I am forced to honor the request you made of me fifteen years ago just when you have finally found something to go on living for," Bran said and left the room.
"I already have," Asil said under his breath. He left Bran's house and traveled on foot to his own before he got into his car and headed over to Thea's.
Thea heard the familiar purr of Asil's Subaru and closed her eyes a moment. Was he angry with her? Only one way to find out. She set her empty cup down and moved to meet him at the door.
Asil pulled into Thea's driveway and called Sage before he got out of the car. He wanted to be sure Cyrus wasn't there because this was something he had no desire to have an audience for. He noticed there weren't many lights on and had a feeling the other wolf was off with Sage, but having it confirmed was better than assuming. He smiled when he learned his Little Omega was, in fact, home alone. He turned the car off and he knew his wolf was in his eyes. There would be no further incidences like the one they'd almost had that afternoon. Thea was his, it was time to make that connection real. And permanent.
He moved across her porch like a predator stalking it's prey. A fitting analogy given their wolves. The door opened as he reached it and he didn't give Thea time to even say hello.
Thea opened the door expecting to find him standing there stoic and angry. She gasped when he grabbed her arms and backed her up against the wall opposite the door. She heard the door close and assumed he'd kicked it with his foot but she didn't have time to ask. His mouth crashed down on hers in a searing kiss that left her weak and clinging to him.
"I want you to be mine, Little Omega," Asil growled against her lips. "My mate, my life, my soul," he added.
Thea was stunned by his words but she didn't hesitate to reply. "Yes," she breathed.
At that single word Asil groaned and kissed her again. He refused to wait, to give anyone else the chance to try and take her from him. She needed to smell like him, to carry his scent, in order to be safe from others. Without breaking the kiss he scooped her up and headed up the stairs. "Which one?" he growled because the house smelled too much like her for him to pinpoint which room was hers. Or maybe it was because his senses were already so full of her scent that he wasn't able to find her bedroom.
Thea kissed him back with the same hunger and passion. She felt herself being lifted and she wrapped her arms around his neck to hold on tight. It took a moment for her brain to process his question. "End of the hall," she murmured.
Once in the bedroom neither of them wasted any time. Clothing was removed, more than one item was ripped in the process, and then Asil stared down at the vision of perfection that was his Thea, his Little Omega, his mate. He kissed her with a gentleness then and ran his hands over her skin. "Perfection," he growled and then there were no more words. Only the sounds of their lovemaking as the passion between them healed the wounds in both their souls.
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